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Student Services/ Guidance
Diploma Requirements
The Credit System
A credit is granted in recognition of the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours. For the purpose of granting a credit, “scheduled time” is defined as the time during which students participate in planned learning activities (other than homework) designed to lead to the achievement of the curriculum expectations of a course. A credit is granted to a student by the principal of a secondary school on behalf of the Minister of Education
The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Students are required to complete 30 credits of 110 hours each to obtain a high school diploma. Eighteen of these credits are compulsory. The 18 compulsory credits are:

  · 4 English (one credit per grade)  
  · 1 French as a Second Language  d

  · 3 Mathematics (at least one in Grade 11 or 12) 
  · 2 Science 
  · 1 Canadian History  
  · 1 Canadian Geography  
  · 1 Arts 
  · 1 Physical and Health Education  
  · .5 credit in Civics  
  · .5 credit in Career studies
plus one credit from each of the following groups:
  · 1 additional credit in English, or a third language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and World Studies, or Guidance and Career Education, or Cooperative Education  
  · 1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or Cooperative Education  
  · 1 additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12) or technological education (Grades 9 – 12), or Cooperative Education*
In addition to the compulsory credit requirements, students must also complete the following prior to graduation:
  · 12 optional credits 
  · minimum 40 hours of community involvement  
  · the secondary school literacy requirement 
*A maximum of 2 credits in Cooperative Education can count as compulsory credits.
Community Involvement
The community involvement requirement is in addition to the thirty credits required for a high school diploma. It is designed to encourage civic responsibility and promote community values. The program will be flexible so that all students will be able to find ways to participate. Students will be responsible for fulfilling the community involvement component on their own.

40-Hour Community Involvement
  · The student is responsible for finding and completing 40 hours of volunteer work. The school will not be directly involved in finding volunteer placements for students or monitoring students while they are completing their volunteer work  
  · The students are responsible for completing their 40 hours and submitting their completed form prior to the end of classes of their graduating year to ensure that their transcript is updated prior to the end of the school year  
  · The parent/guardian is responsible for checking potential placements before the student begins volunteering  
  · The school is responsible for advising students of the requirements and procedures for completing the 40-hour community involvement requirement. Students will receive information and appropriate forms from their school Guidance department  
  · The Principal will determine the required number of hours of volunteer work for students who come from outside the province or country  
  · For more information, including guidelines for eligible activities, visit the TCDSB board website at

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Requirement
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is administered in grade ten. The literacy test is based on the provincial language expectations associated with the grade nine curriculum. If a student is not successful in the literacy test in the grade 10 year, he/she will have additional opportunities to fulfill the literacy requirement. There are Ministry policies and guidelines which allow for accommodations for special needs students writing the high school literacy test. Students taking ESL only take the test when they have reached an appropriate level in their language ability.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)
  · For students who entered secondary school in the 2000-2001 school year or later, successful completion of the test is a diploma requirement.* The test measures whether students can successfully demonstrate reading and writing skills that apply in all subject areas in the provincial curriculum, up to the end of grade 9  
  · The test is designed and marked by the Education Quality & Accountability Office (EQAO) 
  · The test is conducted once each year 
  · Students receive results – either “complete” or “incomplete.” Students who receive an incomplete will be sent detailed feedback. Students may re-take the test. No limits have been established regarding the number of re-takes allowed  
  · Accommodations, deferral and exemption information is outlined in the Ministry of Education’s Programs/Policy memorandum 127  
  · Any accommodations recommended by the school will be acceptable to EQAO, in accordance with Programs/Policy memorandum 127, and must be outlined in the individual student’s Individual Education Plan. Accommodation recommendations will be communicated by letter to parents/guardians in advance of the test  
  · Deferrals will be considered in individual circumstances. The consideration for a deferral may be initiated by a parent or by the principal. The principal will make a decision in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians and appropriate school staff. A letter outlining the reason for the deferral will be sent home with the student for parent/guardian signature in advance of the test. A student who is deferred must successfully complete the test in order to earn an OSSD  
  · A student will only be exempted from the test if she is not working towards an OSSD  
  · An adjudication process is in place to allow students who are eligible to graduate, but who were not able to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or enroll in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), an opportunity to obtain this graduation requirement. An adjudication Panel evaluates samples of student work and thereby determines if a student meets the literacy requirement according to the criteria outlined in the Ministry guidelines


*A student who has been eligible twice to write the OSSLT, and who has failed at least once, is eligible to take the grade 12 literacy course (OSSLC). If passed, this will count in lieu of the literacy test (OSSLT). In very rare circumstances, a principal may decide, based on individual needs, to allow a student to take the OSSLC before he has had his second opportunity to write the OSSLT.

The Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC)
The Ontario Secondary School Certificate will be granted on request to students who leave school before earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, provided that they have earned a minimum of 14 credits, as follows:

Compulsory credits (total of 7)

  · 2 credits in English  
  · 1 credit in Canadian Geography or Canadian History  
  · 1 credit in Mathematics  
  · 1 credit in Science 
  · 1 credit in Health and Physical Education  
  · 1 credit in Arts or Technological Education 

 Optional credits (total of 7)

  · 7 credits selected by the student from available courses. 


The Certificate of Accomplishment
Students who leave school before fulfilling the requirements for the OSSD or the OSSC may be granted a Certificate of Accomplishment. This Certificate is a useful means of recognizing a student’s participation in the secondary school program, especially for those students who plan to take certain types of vocational programs or further training for employment after leaving school. A student may return to school or take additional credit courses after having received the Certificate. The student’s transcript (OST) will be updated, but a new Certificate will not be awarded when the student leaves again. A student who receives the Certificate and chooses to return to study at the secondary level may earn the OSSC and/or the OSSD after fulfilling the appropriate credit requirements for each.


Tracking of Credit Accumulation


Ontario Student Record (OSR)
This is the official record for a student. The OSR contains achievement results, credits earned, diploma requirements completed and other information important to the education of the student.

Policy of Full Disclosure Grades 11, 12
The Ministry of Education policy of full disclosure applies to all students in a secondary school. This policy states that all courses attempted by students in grade 11 and 12 must be recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript. This means that any course completed, dropped or failed will appear on a student transcript along with the marks earned in the program.

Students will have 5 school days from the date a Midterm Report Card is issued to withdraw from a course so that it is not recorded on their Ontario Student Transcript.


Ontario Student Transcript (OST)
The OST is an official and consistent summary of a student’s achievement in Ontario secondary school credit courses. A current, accurate and complete copy of the OST will be included in the Ontario Student Record.


Substitutions for Compulsory Courses
To meet individual student needs, the principal may replace up to three compulsory courses. The decision to make a substitution will be made only if the student’s educational interests are best served by such a substitution. Each substitution will be noted on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript.
Types of Courses
Grades 9 and 10
In grades 9 and 10, four types of courses are offered: academic, applied, locally developed compulsory and open courses. These courses set high expectations for all students. Academic and Applied courses differ in the balance between
essential concepts and additional material, and in the balance between theory and application.
Academic Courses:
· focus on the essential concepts of the discipline and also explore related concepts 
· develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing theoretical, abstract applications of the essential concepts and incorporating practical applications

Applied Courses:
  · focus on the essential concepts of the discipline  
  · develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing practical, concrete applications of the concepts and incorporating theoretical applications 
  · focus on practical applications and concrete examples 

Locally Developed Compulsory Credit Courses:
  · focus on essential skills 
  · use relevant and practical activities that provide opportunities for students to develop their literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, decision-making and communication skills  
  · prepare students for future studies in Grade 11 and 12 workplace preparation courses 
  · meet compulsory credit requirements in English, Mathematics and Science

Open Courses:
  · are offered in all subjects other than those offered as academic, applied or locally developed compulsory 
  · comprise a set of expectations that is suitable for all students at a grade level 
  · prepare students for further study in certain subjects  
  · enrich students’ education generally 

Grades 11 and 12
In grades 11 and 12, courses offered to prepare students for post-secondary destinations include:

College Preparation Courses:
  · were developed in close collaboration with colleges 
  · are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet entrance requirements for college programs and some apprenticeship programs  
  · emphasize concrete applications of the theoretical material covered in the course and also emphasize the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills 


University Preparation Courses:

  · were developed in close collaboration with universities.  
  · are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet entrance requirements for university programs  
  · emphasize theoretical aspects of the course content, but also include concrete applications.

University/College Preparation Courses:
  · were developed in close collaboration with both universities and colleges 
  · include content that is relevant for both university and college programs  
  · are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific university and college programs  
  · emphasize both theoretical aspects and related concrete applications of the course content 
Workplace Preparation Courses:
  · were developed in close collaboration with representatives from a variety of workplaces  
  · are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for direct entry into the workplace or for admission to apprenticeship programs and other training programs offered in the community
  · allow students to prepare for a variety of jobs, training programs and careers 
  · include cooperative education and work experience placements within the community  
  · emphasize the development of generic employment skills, as well as independent research and learning skills  
  · promote and stress the importance of lifelong learning 
Open Courses in Grades 11 and 12:
  · are appropriate for all students, regardless of their post-secondary destination  
  · are designed to provide students with a broad educational base  
  · prepare students for active and rewarding participation in society 
Transfer Courses
Transfer courses are designed to prepare students to meet the expectations of a different type of course in the next grade. At this time, transfer courses are offered through the Continuing Education Department.
Course Changes
From Grade 9 to 10
Students who are successful in any academic or applied grade 9 course may select either the academic or applied course in the same subject in grade 10. Students planning to switch from one course type in grade 9 to another in grade 10 in the same subject are strongly encouraged to complete additional course work, called Crossover Materials, in order to demonstrate the achievement of the learning expectations. The student may access courses online at
From Grade 10 to 11, or 11 to 12
A student wishing to change course types between grades 10 and 11 and/or grades 11 and 12 must either:
  · take a transfer course that will bridge the gap between course type  
  · complete the designated course prerequisite  
  · demonstrate achievement of new curriculum expectations 
Transfer courses are available through summer school, night school and the Board’s online school.
Semestered and Non-Semestered Programs
  · Secondary schools are generally organized on either a full-year (non-semestered) or a half-year (semestered) model  
  · Some schools offer a combination of both models, e.g. all semestered courses except some nonsemestered courses in Grade 9  
  · Students in a full-year non-semestered program usually study eight courses from September to June. The year is divided into two or three terms for examination and reporting purposes 
  · Students in a semestered program usually study four courses from September to January, and another four courses from February to June, with examinations and reports at the end of each semester  
  · At St.Mary's, grade nine students are partially semestered. Grades ten to twelve courses are semestered 
Guidance and Career Education
The goals of the guidance and career education program are that students:
· understand the concepts related to lifelong learning, interpersonal relationships (including responsible citizenship), and career planning; 
· develop learning skills, social skills, a sense of social responsibility, and the ability to formulate and pursue educational and career goals; 
· apply this learning to their lives and work in the school and the community.
The goals have been organized into three areas of knowledge and skills: Student development, Interpersonal development, and Career development. In each area, the knowledge and skills required will change as students proceed through elementary and secondary school. Although sometimes distinct, these areas of learning and their interconnectedness should be reflected in each school’s guidance and career education program.
Student Development: Students will learn to set and achieve learning goals both inside and outside school, manage their own learning, and acquire the habits and skills necessary for success both inside and outside school. As students develop the ability to understand how they learn, recognize areas that need improvement, set goals for improvement, monitor their own learning, and become independent learners, they are acquiring the basic habits and skills they will require for lifelong learning.
Interpersonal Development: Students will learn to demonstrate self-discipline, take responsibility for their own behaviour, acquire the knowledge and skills required for getting along with others both within and beyond the school, and choose ways of interacting positively with others in a variety of situations. They will also learn about thoughtful and non-violent problem resolution, social responsibility, working cooperatively with others, and caring about others.
Career Development: Students will learn how to make informed and appropriate choices to ensure their successful transition from elementary to secondary school and from secondary school to further education, training, and work. This involves the acquisition of the knowledge and skills required to make informed and responsible decisions at key transition points throughout elementary and secondary school and in preparation for leaving secondary school. Students will also assess their interests, competencies, and achievements; explore and evaluate education and career opportunities; make appropriate choices from among those opportunities; collect and interpret information; set goals; and create and evaluate plans for the future.
Cooperative Education
What is Cooperative Education?
  · Cooperative Education is a program that allows students to earn secondary school credits while completing a work placement in the community.  
  · A student’s co-op program consists of the cooperative education course, which is monitored by a cooperative education teacher, and the related curriculum course (that is, a course in any discipline, such as business studies, mathematics, or technological education). Every student in a co-op program must have a Personalized Placement Learning Plan (PPLP), which shows how the student’s related curriculum course is being applied at his or her co-op placement.  
  · The cooperative education course consists of a classroom component and a placement component. The classroom component includes 15 to 20 hours of pre-placement instruction, which prepares students for the workplace and includes instruction in areas of key importance such as health and safety, and classroom sessions held at various times during and after the placement, which provide opportunities for students to reflect on and reinforce their learning in the workplace.  
  · Cooperative education allows students to participate in valuable learning experiences that help prepare them for the next stage of their lives, whether in apprenticeship training, college, community living, university, or the workplace. 
  · Co-op placements are arranged for students by their school and must follow Ministry of Education policy and guidelines.
How does Cooperative Education benefit students?  
  · Cooperative Education gives students the opportunity to: make connections between school and work and to “try out” a career of interest before finalizing plans for postsecondary education, training, or employment; 
  · See the relevance of their classroom learning in a work setting; 
  · Develop the essential skills and work habits required in the workplace and acquire a direct understanding of employer and workplace expectations;  
  · Gain valuable work experience to help build their resume for postsecondary programs and future employment;  
  · Experience authentic and purposeful learning outside a traditional classroom setting. 

How are Cooperative Education programs being delivered?
  · Cooperative Education placements are available in many kinds of work settings, reflecting the wide range of student interests and abilities. Placements vary in length, depending on the number of credits students are earning through their co-op program, and may involve work outside the designated hours of the school day, depending on the nature of the program and the placements available in the community. 
  · Cooperative education programs are available through the regular school program, specialized school and board programs, and summer and night school programs.  
  · Access to a cooperative education program is based on student readiness and program availability. 
How does Cooperative Education help students meet Diploma requirements?
  ·Cooperative Education credits may be used to meet up to two of the 18 compulsory credit requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).  
  · Students must also earn 12 optional credits for the OSSD. There is no limit on the number of optional credits that may be earned through cooperative education courses.  
  · Under the ministry-approved framework for the new Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) designation within the OSSD, students must earn a minimum of two cooperative education credits as one of the five required components of a SHSM. Cooperative education credits are also a required component of other specialized programs, such as school-to-work and school-to-apprenticeship (OYAP) programs. 

Central Cooperative Education placements in the Toronto Catholic District School Board
Students enrolled in Cooperative Education programs are eligible to apply, and be interviewed for the opportunity to participate in specialized co-op placements which are centrally coordinated. All of these placement opportunities have their own specific criteria for eligibility and involve a competitive interview process.
Students may apply and interview for placement opportunities with:
  · Hospitals  
  · Emergency Medical Services  
  · Police Services  
  · Toronto Fire Services  
  · Army Reserve  
  · TCDSB Facilities Department 

Continuous In-Take Cooperative Education
The Toronto Catholic District School Board provides Continuous In-Take Cooperative Education (CIC) Programming for students who require a flexible and adaptable environment to meet their educational needs. Centralized cooperative education staff provide students with the opportunity to have flexible timetables when they require: a different educational environment, or a way to earn credits while they are meeting family obligations, or a venue to earn credits when they re-enter the school system, or the opportunity to change their timetable when they are not meeting success in their current scheduled courses, or the opportunity to achieve academic success through a different mode of learning. Students may enter into the CIC program at any point in time during the school year and they have the possibility to earn 1 – 4 credits per semester depending on their other obligations and the amount of time that they can be devoted to the program.
Please note: School staff must refer students to the program based on established criteria and the students must apply for and be interviewed by CIC staff before they are accepted into the program.
What Can Cooperative Education Look Like in Students’ Timetables?
1. Cooperative Education is a mode of learning and not a course. Coop credits are linked to subjects (courses) that students have already passed or to subjects they are taking concurrently with the Cooperative Education program. The subject link will be established by the Cooperative Education teacher, based on the type of learning placement the student wishes.
2. Co-op programs linked to half credit courses may only deliver one Coop credit.
3. Co-op programs linked to full credit courses may deliver one or two Coop credits depending on the students’ requirements.
4. Students typically register for Cooperative Education programs in grade 11 and beyond or once they have reached age 16. The Ministry of Labour has specific age restrictions for various types of work which must be adhered to.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
Join the thousands of high school students throughout Ontario who have chosen to take control of their future by getting a head start on their career as a skilled trade professional. Earn high school credits while exploring the world of skilled trades such as carpentry, child and youth worker, electrician, plumber, early childhood educator, cook, and over 140 other apprenticeable skilled trade professions. Visit our website at and learn more about these and other exciting apprenticeable trade programs. Discover the educational opportunities that can set you on a pathway to success. Be a leader. Take control of your future… TODAY!!!
As a participant in an Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, you:
  · earn credits towards an Ontario Secondary School Diploma  
  · gain knowledge and experience under the supervision of a skilled trades professional at an apprenticeship workplace  
  · develop skills recognized within the specific industry 
  · register as an apprentice and you may be exempted from or credited for some of the post-secondary apprenticeship in-school training course(s)  
  · accumulate hundreds of hours of hands-on experience  
  · do not pay tuition fees for in-school sessions at college or training institutes  
  · make connections with people that can help you today and tomorrow  
  · have the opportunity to “earn while you learn”
 Who is Eligible?
  · Students who are at least 16 years of age and have successfully completed 16 high school credits  
  · Students who enroll in a 2, 3, or 4 credit cooperative education program at their home school  
  · To receive an OSSD, students must still complete all compulsory credits

Accelerated OYAP
  · Students are partnered with local colleges and unions and have the opportunity to complete all or part of their Basic Level One in one of the ten (10) Accelerated programs. Please visit our website at for further details  
  · Students will be interviewed prior to being accepted into any Accelerated Program  
  · Students must be in their graduating year and have completed 26 credits by the start of their final semester. 

A Co-operative Education teacher will monitor to make sure that your educational requirements are being met. As well, a Training Consultant from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will monitor your progress to ensure that industry standards and training requirements are being met.
For more information, speak to a guidance counsellor or a cooperative education teacher at your school. Or visit our website at
School Policies
Student Expectations
Each school produces a student handbook every year. It includes important information on student expectations with respect to achievement, attendance, punctuality, and resource supports such as computer use and the library. Please visit the Board website and school websites for further information on the Board’s Safe Schools Policy and the Code of Conduct for each school.
Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting
Each school has an assessment and evaluation policy based on board and Ministry policy. Standardized provincial report cards are issued at mid-term and at the end of a semester (November, February, April and June) in semestered schools and at trimesters (December, March and June) for non-semestered schools. Seventy percent of a student’s final grade must be based on term work. Thirty percent must be based on a final evaluation which will consist of one or more activities held within the final three to four weeks in a semestered timetable and six to eight weeks for a non-semestered timetable. Based on the course of study, final evaluations may include activities in addition to or other than a formal written examination. There are no exemptions from these final evaluations. Some of these are scheduled during class time and the rest are scheduled during examination days at the end of the semester and year. Vacations, work experiences and other personal activities must be scheduled outside of examination days. In addition, final evaluations are scheduled during the last two to three weeks of the semester and year. Please contact your school for examination dates.
School Uniforms
Wearing a school uniform encourages feelings of pride and community among the students of the school. Also, many problems related to the clothes budget are reduced as a result of the school uniform. For information regarding school uniform requirements, cost and source, contact your local secondary school. Parents are advised not to purchase a uniform for a particular Catholic secondary school until they receive confirmation their child has been accepted and placed.
Continuing Education
Summer School
Credit Summer School operates during the month of July and into early August each summer. Active TCDSB day school students must register through the guidance office at their home school. Day school students from other boards must visit their guidance office to obtain permission to attend summer school. Summer school is designed for students who have been unsuccessful in a course during day school and wish to repeat the course in an attempt to improve their marks. As well, students can take a new credit over the summer. Locations and availability of courses are indicated in the summer school brochure, which becomes available during the last week of April. This information is also posted on the TCDSB Board website at
Night School (for day school students)
Night School programs are available for secondary school credits. Active TCDSB day school students must register through the guidance office at their home school. Day school students from other boards must visit their guidance office to obtain permission to attend night school. Students are expected to take courses in the regular day school program and only select night school for courses not available at their home school. Adults may also register for these courses. Information is available on the Board website at
Web-based Learning eClass
Presently, there are 11 approved Ministry of Education online courses offered in conjunction with summer and night school programs. Registration procedures follow those outlined for summer and night school. For more information on registration and courses visit
International Languages
A select number of International Language courses are available for credit for secondary school students and for interest for elementary school students. These programs are offered on Saturdays. Information is available on the Board website at
Transfer Courses
Transfer courses are designed to prepare students to meet the expectations of a different type of course in the next grade. They provide partial credits that qualify as optional credits towards the diploma requirements since they require students to demonstrate achievement of new curriculum expectations.
Transfer courses are available through the Continuing Education Department. Please refer to the Summer School and Night School Calendar for availability.
Independent Learning Centre (ILC)
The ILC offers a wide range of Grades 9 – 12 courses by correspondence in English and French. The ILC provides course materials, student support, marking and supervision of final tests. The ILC is mainly for students who cannot fulfill Diploma requirements in day school or through Continuing Education. Please go to or see your Guidance Counsellor for further information.
Take Our Kids to Work Day
Every Canadian Grade 9 student is invited to spend a day at work with a parent, relative, adult friend, or volunteer host.  This usually occurs on one day at the beginning of November.  The three objectives are…
  · to offer students a view of the work world and to give them an understanding of its demands and opportunities;  
  · to allow students to see their parents or volunteer hosts in different roles and responsibilities and to understand what they do to support a family;  
  · to emphasize that education goes beyond the classroom and that the preparation of younger generations for the future is a community responsibility. 
Course Transfers during the School Year
Students must take extreme care when selecting courses. Priority for considering a change is as follows:
1. A student failed a course;
2. A student took a summer school course;
3. A student changed his/her career plans that require specific courses.
Once the semester has started, changes will be considered only in levels of difficulty, e.g., from English 2D to English 2P. All course changes are made at the discretion of the principal. In semester one the deadline for timetable changes is mid-September. In semester two the deadline is mid-February.
Dropping a Course
Courses may be dropped only after the student has consulted a counsellor. After the deadline for course changes, approximately two weeks after the beginning of each semester, principal approval is required. As a result of full disclosure, timetable changes for grades 11 and 12 cannot be made beyond 5 school days of mid-term report card issuance.